The Miracle of Life
Life is a miracle; neither science nor religion can adequately explain it. So let’s start with some basic chemistry.
For the most part, human life requires two things to exist: oxygen and water. About half of the earth’s crust and more than half of our bodies are made up of oxygen and yet the universe consists of just 1% oxygen. So where does the oxygen come from? Science has said that it is provided by the photosynthesis of living organisms (plants), which use the energy of sunlight to produce oxygen. Since human life cannot exist without oxygen and oxygen can only be made with the help of the sun’s energy, it would seem obvious that the sun might be considered the source of life. That certainly would be consistent with the ancients who equated the sun with God. Of course, that doesn’t explain where the plants came from, or for that matter the sun either.
Then, there’s nitrogen. Without nitrogen life couldn’t exist as it is responsible for, among other things, the proteins/DNA in our bodies. It constitutes a negligible amount of the universe and yet it makes up the vast majority of our atmosphere. Overall, 98% of the universe consists of hydrogen and helium, but the earth’s atmosphere consists primarily of nitrogen and oxygen. That’s nothing short of a miracle and flies in the face of logic. So how did so much of the nitrogen in the universe wind up here in earth’s atmosphere. There’s lots of theories, but apparently no one really knows.
Of course, there’s also water. Approximately 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Water plays a critical role in virtually every biochemical reaction and thus is the fundamental building block of life and yet water can act outside the physical laws of Nature (e.g. water rises in trees against gravity). In addition, current scientific research seems to suggest that water has a memory; it’s alive in a manner of speaking.
Moving into the realm of physics, we have gravity. I think everybody has at least some idea of what gravity is having experienced it in their daily lives. Without gravity, life is for the most part impossible. However, science is still trying to come to grips with this mysterious force. This has led one theoretical physicist to admit that when you do calculations concerning gravity, “…you get stupid answers. The math simply doesn’t work.”
The hottest thing in science today seems to be genetics and the enigma of DNA. Just think of it. Trillions of cells in our body each encoded with instructions on how to operate and grow our bodies; and these trillions of cells are all working in precise harmony with every other cell. The neural circuitry in our brains uses algorithms undreamt of in modern science, way beyond the capabilities of the most sophisticated supercomputer. Yet, we can’t figure out how those instructions (similar to computer code) got there. Who exactly was the programmer, anyway?
These are just are a few of the things in the physical world that might lead one to the conclusion that the chance for life in the universe, absent some form of intelligence, is infinitesimal. But what about the quantum world, you might ask? Well, ask away because the quantum world is beyond man’s power to observe and therefore will probably forever be a mystery. What little we seem to know is that the in the quantum world everything is different than in the physical world, including different laws of physics. The physical world appears to be simply the effect, with the quantum world being the cause. You could say that the quantum world is the true reality and we are living, or perhaps more correctly dreaming, inside a virtual reality matrix.
So here we stand today vacillating between two diametrically opposed beliefs (God vs. evolution); between two fairy tales, one of the Genesis story and one as to how so many dead chemicals, in the primordial soup, somehow coalesced into life. George Wald, a Nobel laureate, stated that it had been scientifically proven that spontaneous generation of a living organism was impossible. Yet he still chose to believe in something that, in his own words, was impossible rather than to believe in a Creator. That pretty much sums up for me the utter absurdity of man’s rationalization on this issue. I can only assume that if I were to return here in another 2,000 years the very same argument would still be ongoing!
“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”